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Divorced dads can bond with daughters through sports

Many fathers have a hard time finding common ground with their daughters as they grow into adolescence. After a divorce, it can be even more difficult to form a good relationship or maintain the bond they had in earlier years, especially if the father is the non-custodial parent. As time goes on, father and daughter may grow more distant and even develop a strained relationship. By the time the daughter is in her teens -- an age where many kids tend to block off their parents emotionally -- she might feel like a stranger.

It doesn't have to be this way, but many fathers are at a loss when it comes to remaining close to their daughters. Even custodial fathers will occasionally find themselves stumbling around certain aspects of their daughter's lives, having a hard time identifying with them. One good way to form a bond is to find some common ground. A new study by researchers at Texas' own Baylor University found that sports are a great way to improve relationships between dads and daughters. Among the fathers and daughters surveyed, sports served as a turning point in the relationship more than any other activity.

The 43 women surveyed, all at least 22 years old, said playing a sport with their father taught them not only how to compete, but to take risks and stand up for themselves. The 43 fathers, none of whom were related to the women, frequently mentioned sports as the activity that strengthened their relationships with their daughters. Many said coaching their daughter's softball team or just throwing a ball around helped them better communicate with their girls and formed a unique bond they didn't share with other family members.

If you couldn't throw a ball in a straight line to save your life, don't worry. Any activity that both you and your daughter can enjoy together will help. Many daughters in the study said they simply enjoyed having their fathers to themselves. The key is having quality time together and demonstrating that you're engaged and supportive.

Source: inSing.com, "Playing sports helps fathers bond with daughters: study," Feb. 21, 2013

  • Our firm aims to help divorced fathers with their family law matters. To learn more about our practice, visit our Dallas family law website.

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